Incumbent has broken virtually every promise to school communities, while strong-arming hundreds of millions from CPS to cover City budget shortfall.
The Chicago Teachers Union wholeheartedly embraces the decision of Chicago public schoolteacher, CTU organizer and current Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson to enter the race for Mayor of Chicago. Our students and families have endured generations of broken promises, chronic under-resourcing in our classrooms, and a constant struggle to get even basic needs met in school communities across the city. Brandon offers our city a leader who rejects the failures of the current regime and has vowed to govern from a core commitment to the common good.
As a father, husband and homeowner in Chicago’s Austin community, Johnson’s work as Cook County Commissioner has centered the lives, hopes and needs of students, families, educators, and residents in some of Chicago’s most underserved communities. His work continues to have a direct – and positive – impact on the City’s schoolchildren and school communities.
“For the years that I have known Brandon, he has been leading the way for working families that look like my own,” said Stacy Davis-Gates, President of the Chicago Teacher Union. “Beyond just working to ensure that our neighborhoods are safe, welcoming and thriving, Brandon has put time and effort into getting to the issues and the people most affected by them. For our rank and file, our concerns lie beyond just the school building. We need a mayor willing to ensure that this city works for every student, in the classroom, walking home from school, or playing on the block – and Brandon gets that.”
With the mayoral race scheduled for February 28, the CTU’s rank-and-file members will continue to educate neighbors and parents about this election’s high stakes – and the difference that Brandon Johnson can make if elected mayor.
“I see the hardship and heartache that my students live with every day,” says special education teacher and CTU political action committee chair Kimberly Walls-Kirk, who eagerly supported the CTU’s endorsement of Brandon in September. “The mayor runs Chicago’s public schools, and the tragic reality is that our students in some of the greatest need are going without the services and supports they need and deserve, because – while the federal funding is there – the mayor is simply not getting these resources and staff to our school communities.”
“The mayor promised to write a new chapter for our students, their parents, and the city of Chicago – yet she’s broken virtually every one of those promises,” said special education teacher Hilario Dominguez. “We need a mayor who will stand with us to write a chapter that includes high-quality public schools in every corner of the city, safe and thriving neighborhoods, and equity for all, not just a few. I am supporting Brandon because I know he will be that candidate.”
As a candidate, Lori Lightfoot declared her support for an elected school board – but fought that tooth and nail as mayor. She promised a nurse, a social worker and a librarian for every school community – yet made us strike to secure just part of that commitment. There are fewer librarians today in our public schools than there were when she was elected – and less than one in ten librarians in majority Black schools. Our students today go without everything from full-time math teachers to full-time school nurses. She promised students and families equity. Instead, we have students who’ve lost loved ones to the pandemic going without trauma supports while the inequality that plagued Chicago before the pandemic has only grown.
The mayor’s hand-picked board of education got $2.8 billion in federal COVID relief – a billion of which is stashed in a rainy day fund to placate lenders, while that same board cut over 40% of school budgets this year. That board is also forking over $200 million this year alone to cover Lightfoot’s City budget hole – and under Lightfoot’s leadership, that shell game is only expected to grow, at the expense of Chicago’s schoolchildren.
Our city needs better than this train wreck of failed leadership. We need a mayor who we can trust, who will be an honest broker and puts the greater good first.
Brandon will be that mayor. As a union educator, a father of CPS students, a Cook County Commissioner and a resident of a neighborhood long ignored by the city’s mayors, he and his family see and live the daily struggle against long-ignored inequity. Brandon Johnson offers a path forward beyond the failed leadership of the past – grounded in lived experience and a commitment to putting the needs of the many ahead of the needs of the few.